HC Deb 21 November 1950 vol 481 cc200-1
48. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will move the necessary amendments to Standing Orders to secure that the time allotted for the answering of oral Questions shall be one hour from the time at which the first question is called.

Mr. H. Morrison

No. Sir.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on a number of occasions, Question Time is diminished by Private Business and the presentation of Petitions, and is he also aware that the concession suggested in the Question would not seriously affect the time for Public Business; and, in view of the general feeling of the House in regard to getting Questions answered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will the right hon. Gentleman really look into the matter again?

Mr. Morrison

I am not at all sure about the general feeling in the House. I know perfectly well what might happen. In a few weeks' time, the House would be grumbling about debates being shortened, and Mr. Speaker has told the House that the remedy is largely in its own hands. We now have Ten Minutes Rule Bills coming along and all sort of things which are the business of the House, and if we cut the time for debates, there would be complaints.

Mr. Keeling

In view of the importance of Scotland and the long time taken to air her grievances, would the right hon. Gentleman consider giving more time for Scottish Questions?

Mr. Morrison

Perhaps that Question might more fitly be put down by a Scottish Member.

Hon. Members


At the end of Questions

Captain Waterhouse

May I draw attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that although today we have got on very well with Questions, there are still 32 Questions to the Treasury which have not been reached? Would you consider allowing Treasury Questions to take their ordinary turn so that on occasion they may be first on the Order Paper?

Mr. Speaker

That is rather a matter of changing our usual custom. There are, of course, a great many more Questions to the Treasury today because we have not reached Treasury Questions as a rule for several days. Therefore, there were 40-odd put down today. Now that we have our different technique with regard to Questions, and particularly supplementary questions, when we are getting through 60 or 70 or more Questions a day, I think there will be no difficulty so long as I am able to control supplementary questions.

Captain Waterhouse

Perhaps, Sir, you will bear the matter in mind so that if you find these Questions are not reached, you will not close your mind to a change?

Mr. Speaker

I will certainly keep the matter under review the whole time, but I hope that things will get better now.